Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beach Boy Summer Days, by Annette Skarin

My oldest sister, Manon, was obsessed with getting a suntan. She hated what she called the “pasty white skin” and “fish ball eyes” of wintertime. When the sun had sufficiently warmed up to “cook” her just the right shade of toasty brown, she would be out there with her beach towel; baby oil; tin foil (for intensifying the rays), and donned in a bikini. She would have to sneak down to the beach by making up a story because my father didn't allow us to wear revealing garments.

Manon always spent at least two hours putting on her make-up. Her perfectly drawn on eyebrows; carefully etched eyeliner and gobs of mascara made her appear mannequin-like. Her features were Barbie-doll perfect with cat eyes, high cheekbones, straight nose and full lips. She had long blond hair which she would rat up at the top, smooth over, then flip up at the ends with a curling iron. She would lengthen her sessions in the sun by about 15 minutes a day, so as not to get the lobster look, which was not in vogue. The Beach Boys were all the rage then with their hit California Girl-even though they portrayed surfer boys but only one of them was a surfer.

My youngest sister, Becky, was fair-skinned with a curly mass of fiery-red hair and what typically accompanies that-the dotted mass of freckles. The adults all thought her freckles were adorable but she hated them. Since we didn't have sunscreen in those days; she stayed home a lot or hung out with friends down the block. My sister Becky also made friends with an elderly woman who she would help out during the summer months, running errands and cleaning. In return she was given gifts like a small intricately carved wooden table that she kept for many years.

We lived in the city of Orange which was located inland from the beaches. I always hated my body shape and refused to be seen in a bikini but I loved swimming. We had a pool at a nearby park where we took swimming lessons. Because my arms were so short, I didn't like to do any other stroke but the side-stroke and I could dog paddle like a true canine. I also loved to take a deep breath and dive underwater-moving my body with a mermaid-like thrashing-I would cross the pool lengthwise twice without coming up for air.
I loved the carefree, barefoot, book-reading, bike-riding days of summer and always dreaded when they began to creep away with the shadow of fall. Back to school and the dreaded teachers with their stern, “your days of fun are over”, look.

Annette's Blog:


  1. Dear Annette, your summer story sure fits the theme.You have captured the essence of the summer for 3 California gals. AS I read I was right there soaking up the rays with you.

  2. Annette, very good description of your sister, Manon. We all re-act so different to summer and your story tells of three teens very differnt. I envied those bronze tans but was the girl more like your sister Becky.

  3. Hello Annette; We lived in Placentia and went to Valencia High; i knew a Manon Skarin , (she hated her real name Colleen) it was the late sixties and the Beach Boys were blazin' we wrote our boyfriend's names on our Beachboy albums and cried when they sang Little Surfer Girl; Manon had bright blue cat eyes , was a super cool chick and we had lots of laughs , teasing the idiot boys who followed us around , she was new in school and we hit it off , i've often wondered what happened to her: as at that moment in time, the world was on the brink of something , we all knew something was coming but we didn't know what.
    My family moved away that same summer and i never saw her again. Could it be the same girl ? Anyway you struck a cord with me, i enjoyed reading it. Much Love Sheri (Fisher) Williams